Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

Batch Cake

This recipe fascinated me when I came across it because it calls for baking a freestanding cake on a cookie sheet. The results is a kind of cross between a giant scone and a light fruitcake. It’s quick and easy to prepare and a perfect cake to serve for brunch or with tea or coffee. Vary the mix of raisins and candied fruit any way you like. If you like, you can leave out the candied fruit altogether and make up the quantity with additional raisins.

One thin 10-inch cake, about 12 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
3/4 cup dark or golden raisins, or a combination
1/2 cup candied orange peel, or a combination of candied orange and lemon peel, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup milk
Sugar for sprinkling on the cake before baking

One cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with parchment

  1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. Use a plate or cardboard round to trace a 10-inch circle on the parchment paper and turn the paper over on the pan, so the circle is on the bottom of the paper but still shows through.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add the butter and rub it as for a pastry dough, using your fingertips to incorporate the butter and bringing up the dry ingredients from the bottom of the bowl to mix in with it. Incorporate the butter completely, but leave the mixture powdery rather than pasty.
  5. Stir in the dried and candied fruit. Use a large rubber spatula to stir in the milk, continuing to stir until the dough has a sticky consistency, but is not liquid.
  6. Scrape the dough out onto the traced circle on the paper. Use a metal spatula to spread the dough to an even thickness and to make the sides neat and straight.
  7. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sugar and bake it until it is well risen and deep golden and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Slide the paper from the pan to a rack to cool the cake.

Serving: This is one cake that may be served when still slightly warm if you like. Or cool the cake completely before serving in wedges.

Storage: Keep the cake loosely covered on the day it is baked. This is not much of a keeper. I wouldn’t deliberately prepare it more than a few hours in advance.